Make Medi­care changes now

Souderton Independent - - OPINION -

Medi­care and sup­ple­men­tal health cov­er­age pro­vide a safety net for those age 65 and up, but in­sur­ance cov­er­age, at best, can be con­fus­ing.

For the nearly 117,000 Mont­gomery County res­i­dents who are 65 years or older now is the time to think DERuW KHDlWK FDUH FRYHUDJH, DV 2FW. 15 ZDV WKH fiUVW GDy and Dec. 7 the last day those with Medi­care can make changes to their health in­sur­ance plans.

Fol­low­ing are tips from one in­sur­ance car­rier for those us­ing Medi­care.

• (YHn LI yRu’UH KDSSy ZLWK yRuU FuUUHnW FRYHUDJH, LW doesn’t hurt to com­pare plans. Most plans make changes ev­ery year, so it’s worth check­ing even if you care­fully con­sid­ered plans last year. If you still like what you have, do noth­ing and you’ll au­to­mat­i­cally be reen­rolled in your cur­rent plan.

• 2ULJLnDl 0HGLFDUH (3DUWV $ DnG B) GRHVn’W FRYHU ev­ery­thing. Take a look at your reg­u­lar monthly health care ex­penses and de­cide what plan cov­ers what you nHHG DW WKH EHVW FRVW. 2ULJLnDl 0HGLFDUH GRHVn’W FRYHU ev­ery­thing and has no lim­its on out-of-pocket ex­penses.

• 0HGLFDUH $GYDnWDJH SlDnV SURYLGH DGGLWLRnDl EHnH­fiWV. 0HGLFDUH $GYDnWDJH SlDnV (3DUW C) DUH DnRWKHU RS­tion to orig­i­nal Medi­care. They pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age with fewer out-of-pocket costs than orig­i­nal Medi­care and of­ten in­clude cov­er­age for pre­scrip­tion drugs (Part D). Medi­care Ad­van­tage plans also of­fer adGLWLRnDl EHnH­fiWV, VuFK DV KHDULnJ, GHnWDl, YLVLRn VHUYLFes, help manag­ing chronic con­di­tions such as di­a­betes, and ad­di­tional sup­port af­ter a hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.

• CKHFN WKDW yRuU nHWZRUN LnFluGHV GRFWRUV DnG KRVpi­tals you will need. Your health needs can change, so it’s best to think ahead to be sure you have easy ac­cess to qual­ity health care ser­vices.

• 0DNH VuUH yRuU SlDn FRYHUV WKH PHGLFDWLRnV yRu take. If you’re buy­ing a Medi­care Pre­scrip­tion (Part D) plan, check if there’s cov­er­age for your drugs in the “GRnuW KRlH.” 7KLV LV ZKHUH yRu DUH UHVSRnVLElH IRU D cer­tain per­cent­age of charges af­ter reach­ing your pre­scrip­tion cov­er­age limit and be­fore you reach the yearly out-of-pocket max­i­mum spend­ing limit.

• ,I SRVVLElH, GRn’W ZDLW unWLl WKH lDVW PLnuWH WR HnURll. The ex­tra time helps your in­sur­ance com­pany ver­ify your el­i­gi­bil­ity, get you prop­erly set up in their sys­tem, or­der your ID card, and en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion from 2012 to 2013.

• ,W’V 2. WR FKDnJH yRuU PLnG. )URP -Dn. 1 WR )HE. 14, 0HGLFDUH EHnH­fiFLDULHV FDn FDnFHl WKHLU 0HGLFDUH $Gvan­tage plan and sign up for a Medi­care Sup­ple­ment, or re­turn to orig­i­nal Medi­care.

Where to go for help. A li­censed bro­ker can pro­vide you with all the in­for­ma­tion you need to make an in­formed de­ci­sion and even come to your home to ed­u­cate you. Also, many health plans of­fer community meet­ings DERuW 0HGLFDUH. CKHFN ZLWK Dn LnVuUHU nRZ WR finG RuW.

7KH RI­fiFLDl U.6. JRYHUnPHnW VLWH IRU 0HGLFDUH, ZKLFK in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on re­lated sup­ple­men­tal health plans is at www.medi­care.gov.

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